Former pound-for-pound king Kamaru Usman and reigning welterweight champion Leon Edwards engaged in a fierce verbal battle at UFC 286 presser.
Usman has been on the sidelines since taking on Edwards at UFC 278 last August. He went into the bout looking to match legendary mixed martial artist Anderson Silva’s unbeaten streak. He appeared to be ahead on the judges’ scorecards and on his way to another successful title defense until Edwards connected a vicious kick to the head with less than a minute left on the clock. The finish earned Edwards the 170-pound gold, making him the second British fighter to hold a UFC title.
Kamaru Usman & Leon Edwards trade verbal jabs at UFC 286 presser
During the pre-fight press conference for UFC 286, Kamaru Usman and Leon Edwards went off on each other in a heated battle of words. It all kicked off when Edwards claimed altitude issues affected him in their previous encounter, suggesting he would turn in a better performance this time.
Edwards: “Yeah, a 100 percent technically, the altitude not affecting me. I’ve never lost in the UK amateur or Pro. I truly drive off energy of the fans and my family, friends being here. It’s always pushed me forward to do well and Saturday night will be no different.”
Usman: “What was the excuse for the first fight?”
Edwards: “What’s the excuse for the head kick you got?”
Usman: “I dropped my head. There was no excuse. Beautiful technique, my head came down, and you landed it. What was your excuse for the three rounds before that getting your head beaten? Your coach had to beg you, ‘c’mon Rocky, don’t let him bully you son. You’re getting bullied, son.’”
Edwards: “You awake? You good? That was concussed. He’s got concussion. He doesn’t know what he’s talking about.”
Usman says Edwards is an ordinary person, hits back at retirement claims
‘The Nigerian Nightmare’ bashed Edwards for stating he would end up retiring following another defeat. While he does rank ‘Rocky’ highly, he doesn’t believe Edwards possesses the same caliber of talent as himself.
“There’s no such thing as a mistake,” said Usman. “It was a learning experience. I overside by myself but we correct that, get back on the horse, and do what greatness requires. He’s an ordinary person and he speaks of what ordinary people do but I’m not ordinary. I’m extraordinary and he’s going to find that out Saturday night.”
“Honestly, there’s not many more things left for me to do. This was just each and everyone is special. I would love this one as well. Everyone is special. The Colby one was special, Masvidal was special, and this one will be too.”
“If he wants to open the door for me that’s fine,” added Usman. “It’s him being a gentleman. He opened the door so the king can walk through.”
Kamaru Usman will face Leon Edwards for the welterweight title in the headlining bout of UFC 286 this Saturday, Mar. 18 at the O2 Arena in London, England.